This past Saturday, the New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit of his Major League Baseball career. He also became the first Yankee in the organization’s history to reach that milestone (not Ruth or Mantle, Jeter did it first). As many of you probably know by now, that hit was a home run.
The ball was caught by 23 year old Yankees fan Christian Lopez. In a move that has many stunned and others praising his actions, he returned the ball to Jeter in exchange for some autographed items and Yankee tickets for the rest of the season (in a suite and includes any post season games held at Yankee Stadium). Many have speculated that the ball had a value of up to $250,000 and the value of what he got was approximately $70,000 (or at list this is the numbers Bloomberg quotes in this article).
I have heard various comments about what someone would do but truly, until you are in their shoes, how could you know for sure? Many have even speculated that the Yankees shortchanged the fan and owe him more since they are making millions off the hit already.
So here is my question for those who are not Yankees fans, what would you do if this was a Syracuse situation? I can’t think of a scenario where the value would equal this exactly and a fan would have access to the ball but let’s take one hypothetical situation where I know a ball would be valuable to a Syracuse fan somewhere.
Enter Hakim Warrick and the magic that is 2003 National Championship championship.
In case you are not familiar with the situation, this block above is one of the greatest plays in Syracuse University sports history. In 1987, Keith “frickin” Smart hit a last second shot to beat Syracuse for the championship and created a dark day in our history. That moment was somewhat redeemed when Hak blocked a shot with .7 seconds that could have tied the game and thus broken the hearts of many Syracuse fans. Instead Syracuse won 81-78 and Coach Boeheim finally got the title he rightfully deserved in 1987.
So take a look at the shot and imagine you are down there on the floor in New Orleans and you catch that ball. You are a huge Syracuse fan and you now have the ball in your hands that potentially guaranteed our place in history as national champions. Do you tell them to contact your lawyers because this ball is a part of history and it is in your possession now? Or do you give it back and simply ask to shake Hak’s hand for the awesome block?
I would like to think I would hand the ball back but there is a part of me that would seriously want to hang onto it in the hopes of getting the players to sign it later one day making it more valuable. I also think if Hak or Coach Boeheim came up to me and asked for it back, I would have a hard time saying no to them. So I ask you, what would you do with the ball that was blocked onto your lap and was part of a moment that 8 years later is still spoken about with admiration and earned Hak a spot in Syracuse hearts forever?